How do I pick the right size pine beams for my home remodel?

How to size pine beams for your new home is a common question we get from customers! So, we have decided to do an informative series to help all those homeowners out there wondering the same thing! Each week will cover a new common question that our customers ask us.

Why Choose Pine Beams

You may be wondering why people choose to incorporate exposed beams in their home design. They can serve many purposes from decorative to structural. They provide a beautiful and interesting focal point in a room while creating a sturdy home. Not a fan of the rustic look? Not to worry, any company that provides you with beams should be able to ship them to you fresh sawn for a more refined appearance.

Interested in using reclaimed pine beams for your project?  Tell us your story and we’ll let you know how we can help.

Pine Beams Chateau Collection

Sizing Pine Beams

This really is a great question to ask your general contractor, architect, or a company like Albany Woodworks. Their expertise will ensure that what you are envisioning is correct! However, we believe it is just as important for the homeowner to understand the sizing process so it is a great experience for everyone involved! Whether the exposed beams are decorative or structural, the dimensions chosen should fit the room, i.e. what may have been placed in the building when it was built as a structural component. In other words, the beams should look like they can “do the job”.

In order to figure this out, there are several keys elements to consider in this decision: the height of the ceiling, a combination of the direction the beams will be placed and the length of the beams and finally, the frequency (how many will be placed in the space). It is also important to understand the terms associated with a beam. These are length, width and depth (pictured above).

The Beam Sizing Rules

So now what? Here is where expertise does come in handy but having an understanding of where your expert is coming up with his or her information is also helpful. Here are some general rules that are pretty standard when it comes to sizing beams.

  • The greater the frequency (number of beams being placed), the smaller the beams can be.
  • The taller the ceiling, the deeper and wider the beam should be.
  • Long beams should be larger overall to maintain proper proportions.
  • Since beams typically rest in the framework of the wall, the beams needs to be approximately 8 inches longer than the inner dimension of the room (span).

The goal is nice proportion and a good aesthetic perspective. The rules and sizing apply for hollow beams that are for appearances only also. Here are some sizing examples! If you had a 13 ft tall ceiling with a 20 foot span (the direction the beams will go), this room would require a minimum of an 8in W X 12in D X 20ft 8in L beams.


Now what about a smaller area like a breakfast nook or a hallway like the one pictured here? Lets say this area has a ceiling height of 8 ft and span of 12 ft. You would need a maximum of 4″ X 8″ to 6″ X 8″ beams with the length of 12ft 8in.

With a few details, you can achieve the home design of your dreams! Albany Woodworks has been working in the beams, flooring and building materials industry since 1976. We value working closely with customers to ensure they have a great home building experience. To find out more, click here.


  • Allen Bird

    Hi have a question if you can give me some ideas I would appreciate it have a cathedrial ceiling 12/12 pitch 26 ft wide rafters are about 20 long . This room is about 14 ft long then goes to a balcony house is a a frame . What size pine beams would look good , do you sell pine beams for this thanks.

    February 18, 2018
      • Elizabeth Soto

        Can you please help? My contractor cover a bit of the window with the beam. What shoul we do to make it better to the eye?
        I have a picture I can send. Thanks

        March 13, 2018

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